Emma is a former Giant Ocean Tank Dive Intern on her first collection expedition to the Bahamas. She joined Aquarium divers to help collect fish—under special permits—so that visitors in Boston can appreciate the splendor of a healthy Caribbean reef. These fish will live in the Giant Ocean Tank this summer, after its top-to-bottom transformation.
Today was our third day in the Bahamas, collecting fish for the new Giant Ocean Tank exhibit. We started off at a spot called Lunker Head—a great reef, but slightly challenging. Just when my dive buddies, Natalia and Liz, had a great fish cornered, it would slip away into little nooks and crannies in the coral. Our main target was blue chromis (Chromis cyanea)—small, vibrant blue fish that will brighten up the GOT.
|Creole wrasses swimming above the reef.|
After catching a few chromis, the staff decided to take a shot at the beautiful school of creole wrasses swimming about the reef. Creole wrasses (Clepticus parrae) are large, purple and yellow fish that cruise in schools above the reef. The staff, led by Sherrie, surrounded the school and herded them into large nets. After the second dive, we had a nice, neat collection of 21 creole wrasses to bring back to Boston.
|Creole wrasses in the collection tank|
|Blue chromis and creole wrasses in the collection tank | Photo credit: Russ|
The last dive of the day was an oddball. We decided to try a drift dive in the early evening. However, as we jumped in, we realized there was no current at all, just endless sea grass beds.
|Liz swimming above the sea grass|
Although the sea grass was beautiful, we were disappointed that there were no fish to be seen, until we stumbled onto a goldmine! Small groups of juvenile and intermediate fish—queen triggers, grey angelfish, Townsend angelfish and French angelfish! We managed to collect one grey angelfish, but other dive groups were more lucky and brought up two queen triggers and quite a few angels as well! It was a great day!
|Queen triggerfish in the collection tank|
By showing visitors the beauty of a healthy Caribbean reef, the Aquarium hopes to inspire people to do what they can to protect these reefs and marine habitats around the world.